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The Strategic Perils of Delayed Differentiation

Author

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  • Krishnan S. Anand

    () (Operations and Information Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 3730 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)

  • Karan Girotra

    () (Technology and Operations Management, INSEAD, Boulevard de Constance, 77305 Fontainebleau, France)

Abstract

The value of delayed differentiation (also known as postponement) for a monopolist has been extensively studied in the operations literature. We analyze the case of (imperfectly) competitive markets with demand uncertainty, wherein the choice of supply chain configuration (i.e., early or delayed differentiation) is endogenous to the competing firms. We characterize firms' choices in equilibrium and analyze the effects of these choices on quantities sold, profits, consumer surplus, and welfare. We demonstrate that purely strategic considerations not previously identified in the literature play a pivotal role in determining the value of delayed differentiation. In the face of either entry threats or competition, these strategic effects can significantly diminish the value of delayed differentiation. In fact, under plausible conditions, these effects dominate the traditional risk-pooling benefits associated with delayed differentiation, in which case early differentiation is the dominant strategy for firms, even under cost parity with delayed differentiation. We extend the main model to study the effects of alternate market structures, asymmetric markets, and inventory holdback. Our results--in particular that for a broad range of parameter values, early differentiation is a dominant strategy even under cost parity with delayed differentiation--are robust to these relaxations.

Suggested Citation

  • Krishnan S. Anand & Karan Girotra, 2007. "The Strategic Perils of Delayed Differentiation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(5), pages 697-712, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:53:y:2007:i:5:p:697-712
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1060.0655
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michail Chronopoulos & Verena Hagspiel & Stein-Erik Fleten, 2017. "Stepwise investment and capacity sizing under uncertainty," OR Spectrum: Quantitative Approaches in Management, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research e.V., vol. 39(2), pages 447-472, March.
    2. Yang, Liu & Wang, Yonggui & Ma, Jun & Ng, Chi To & Cheng, T.C.E., 2014. "Technology investment under flexible capacity strategy with demand uncertainty," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 190-197.
    3. Manu Goyal & Serguei Netessine, 2011. "Volume Flexibility, Product Flexibility, or Both: The Role of Demand Correlation and Product Substitution," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 13(2), pages 180-193, March.
    4. Yang, Shu-Jung Sunny & Anderson, Edward James, 2014. "Competition through capacity investment under asymmetric existing capacities and costs," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 237(1), pages 217-230.
    5. Harish Krishnan & Roman Kapuscinski & David A. Butz, 2010. "Quick Response and Retailer Effort," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(6), pages 962-977, June.
    6. repec:eee:ejores:v:262:y:2017:i:2:p:660-672 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Yang, L. & Ng, C.T. & Cheng, T.C.E., 2011. "Optimal production strategy under demand fluctuations: Technology versus capacity," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 214(2), pages 393-402, October.
    8. Dong, Lingxiu & Kouvelis, Panos & Su, Ping, 2013. "Global facility network design in the presence of competition," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 228(2), pages 437-446.
    9. Chung Yeh & Yu-Tang Lee, 2016. "Designing Pre-Reaction Production Mechanism for Traditional and Postponed Dyeing in Apparel Supply Chain," International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (IJITM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 13(02), pages 1-20, April.
    10. Hagspiel, Verena & Huisman, Kuno J.M. & Kort, Peter M., 2016. "Volume flexibility and capacity investment under demand uncertainty," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 95-108.
    11. Gérard P. Cachon & Robert Swinney, 2011. "The Value of Fast Fashion: Quick Response, Enhanced Design, and Strategic Consumer Behavior," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(4), pages 778-795, April.
    12. Robert Swinney & Gérard P. Cachon & Serguei Netessine, 2011. "Capacity Investment Timing by Start-ups and Established Firms in New Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(4), pages 763-777, April.
    13. Ngniatedema, Thomas & Fono, Louis Aimé & Mbondo, Georges Dieudonné, 2015. "A delayed product customization cost model with supplier delivery performance," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 243(1), pages 109-119.
    14. Yang, Liu & Ng, C.T., 2014. "Flexible capacity strategy with multiple market periods under demand uncertainty and investment constraint," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 236(2), pages 511-521.
    15. Ravi Anupindi & Li Jiang, 2008. "Capacity Investment Under Postponement Strategies, Market Competition, and Demand Uncertainty," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(11), pages 1876-1890, November.
    16. Gil, Ricard & Riera-Crichton, Daniel & Ruzzier, Christian, 2016. "As Seen on TV: Price Discrimination and Competition in Television Advertising," MPRA Paper 75993, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Boonman, H.J. & Hagspiel, V. & Kort, P.M., 2015. "Dedicated vs product flexible production technology: Strategic capacity investment choice," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 244(1), pages 141-152.
    18. Albert Y. Ha & Shilu Tong, 2008. "Contracting and Information Sharing Under Supply Chain Competition," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(4), pages 701-715, April.
    19. Marc Bollecker & Wilfrid Azan, 2008. "Les frontières de la recherche en contrôle de gestion : une analyse des cadres théoriques mobilisés," Post-Print halshs-00522395, HAL.
    20. Manu Goyal & Serguei Netessine, 2007. "Strategic Technology Choice and Capacity Investment Under Demand Uncertainty," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(2), pages 192-207, February.
    21. Mohammad Ali Kashefi, 2013. "The Effect of Salvage Market on Strategic Technology Choice and Capacity Investment Decision of Firm under Demand Uncertainty," Iranian Economic Review, Economics faculty of Tehran university, vol. 18(1), pages 25-67, winter.

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